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Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale
Wednesday, June 7, 2017  

Ritz-Carlton Ft. LauderdaleThere are a handful of words in the English language that have been crafted into brands that immediately evoke an image of ultimate luxury, exceptional service and quality. Rolls-Royce, Rolex, Tiffany, Yves Saint Laurent and of course, Ritz-Carlton. It is difficult to achieve such a reputation in the hospitality industry where so much can go so wrong. Yet, Ritz-Carlton has managed to place its name uppermost in the minds of the ladies and gentlemen who are looking for the ultimate in hotel and resort accommodations.

Our recent stay at The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale was far too brief to adequately experience this exceptional property and all that it has to offer. Coming off a late flight from St. Maarten at the conclusion of our Windstar Wind Spirit cruise, we did not arrive at the hotel until 6:30pm. Our taxi was greeted by attentive personnel who began collecting our luggage as we were escorted to the check-in desk. A commotion echoed through the otherwise peaceful lobby. It was a wedding party getting ready for a rehearsal dinner.

Our big plastic bright red Samsonite suitcase looked out of place as the bellman wheeled it into the elevator on a luggage cart that, no doubt, is more accustomed to hauling Hartmann or Tumi. We were quickly whisked up to the 8th floor where we were introduced to a beautiful, spacious suite complete with balcony overlooking the pool below and the Atlantic Ocean beyond.

The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale, open since August of 2008, is the only AAA Five-Diamond award hotel in Fort Lauderdale and just happens to be perfectly situated for those who are embarking/disembarking cruises in Port Everglades. The hotel, which has 192 guest rooms including eight Oceanfront and 20 Intracoastal suites, is located on North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard and faces the Atlantic Ocean. It is only minutes from the cruise ship pier.

The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale presents Passport to Wines of the World in the sultry 5,000-bottle Wine Room at The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale. Sommelier Don Derocher(mastermind behind the award-winning wine collection and wine program) has recently created a Passport to Wines of the World program, inviting guests to tour twelve wine regions around the world with a pocket-size passport guiding them through ten countries, and vintages from the award-winning 5,000-bottle Wine Vault. A glass of red or white wine is presented from each country to swirl, sniff, sip and STAMP. Travel the world of wines, collect twelve stamps and receive a leather Ritz-Carlton wine carrier, blown-glass wine stopper and leather corkscrew case. Pours range from $11-20 per glass.
We have just enough time to freshen up before our 7:30pm scheduled wine tasting with Sommelier, Sven Vogtland. We arrive at the beautiful Wine Room a few minutes early and are led into the cozy, dark and quite cool wine cellar, home to a collection of more than 5,000 carefully selected bottles of wine. Almost immediately a tall, dark, well-dressed Sven walks in and introduces himself. Sven has hosted wine tastings for guests, public, and dignitaries throughout South Florida and was named one of the “Top 40 Under 40 Young Professionals” in Fort Lauderdale. A series of events then begins that, no doubt, will go down as one of the most memorable events of our travels. We have had Afternoon Tea at The Peninsula in Hong Kong, seen the Big 5 in the Masai Mara while at the Fairmont Mara Safari Club, toured the ruins of Ephesus, ridden camels to the great pyramids of Giza, and now, had a wine tasting with Sven Vogtland at The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale.

In our travels, Rickee and I have attended dozens of wine tastings. We have visited wineries in South Africa, California, Australia and been to countless tastings aboard more cruise ships than we can count. Nothing can compare to the experience offered by Mr. Vogtland. This personalized, weekly Friday night event is offered at 6:00pm and 7:00pm and requires a reservation. There is a $35 per person tasting fee for the session geared for wine “newbies” and a $75 per person tasting fee for the session targeting the more sophisticated wine connoisseur based, of course, on the vintages tasted. However, my recommendation would be the wine pairing with dinner where Sven will sit down and design a custom dinner menu to your liking, paired with the perfect wines, for $125 per person.

After inquiring about our likes and dislikes in wine, Sven started us with a crisp Piper Heisedick champagne from which he removed the cork by sabreing it. We have seen this done on television, but never in real life. Basically, Sven holds he champagne bottle in one hand and whacks the top off the bottle with a special sabre! Very cool. He moved us on to a Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc that matched perfectly with the massive chunk of Humbolt Fog blue perched in the middle of the impressive cheese and fruit platter. We soon moved into the reds with a very affordable, yet complex Malbec from Argentina. We ended the tasting with a glass of Jayson Napa Valley Red. At $125 per bottle, it is pricey, but the longer it sits in the glass, the smoother and more complex it gets. As the fantastic tasting drew to a close, we decided to dine at Cero, the hotel’s restaurant located just a few steps across the corridor from the Wine Room. Sven offered to deliver the wonderful cheese platter to our table so we could continue to enjoy it with our wine. With glasses of Jayson in hand, we transitioned into a wonderful dinner at Cero, which features a sophisticated seafood menu with an emphasis on fresh local and organic ingredients.

After dinner, we retired to our beautiful suite and enjoyed the incredibly comfortable beds. A great feature of this room is the room control panel on the table between the beds from which you can control things like the room lighting, TV, and temperature with a touch of the screen. The large marble-clad bathroom with separate shower and tub, vanity with double sinks and even a wall-mounted 13" LCD panel TV, is impressive. Even though our stay was a short one, we thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend this property to our members and readers.

The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Fort Lauderdale is an 8,500 square foot oasis, and one that we would love to have visited. Maybe next time! The spa offers a variety of signature treatments that sound very intriguing. The Intuitive Ocean Treatment, Ocean Sea Salt Glow and Sea Spray Massage sound very appealing. Their spa is the only one in Broward County to receive a Four-Star Mobil Travel Guide rating. They are offering a Signature Spa package with rates starting at $729 which includes Partial Ocean View accommodations, American Breakfast buffet for two in Cero Restaurant, Swedish Massage for two (50 minutes) and overnight valet parking. This particular offer is valid through April 30, 2010.

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